Autumn can be a motivating time of year. The weather turns a bit cooler, offering relief from the hot summer days. One just feels compelled to trim the lawn, till the garden soil, repair fences, wash the mud from the truck which was a result of driving through all those puddles on the back roads of the palmetto scrub. The scrub where we spotted that Peregrine Falcon. And where we saw the Snail Kite over that small lake. There have been reports of a Snail Kite less than 20 minutes from the house. With the cooler weather, maybe the bugs won’t be so bad and the humidity is much less than last week.
Oh, where was I? Yes, autumn can be a motivating time of year. The camera batteries are charged, the truck has a full tank of gas and Gini has packed fruit and water for our early morning trip to the local marsh. (What do you mean I should take care of the chores? That’s what spring is for!)
Circle B Bar Reserve has become one of our favorite places to visit due to the incredible variety of life there and the fact that it doesn’t require a long drive. We pulled into the parking lot just as the sun broke the horizon. As I headed for the path which leads through the marsh to an open water and mud flat area, birds seemed to be everywhere!
A Limpkin was washing off an Apple Snail for breakfast. Two juvenile Purple Gallinules were climbing among the weeds to get at some flowers. A small flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks flew overhead chattering to each other. Glossy Ibis, Snowy Egrets, Tricolored Herons, Osprey – and I hadn’t even reached the beginning of the path yet.
The easy hike along the grassy path took quite awhile as almost every step revealed new birds to watch. Large numbers of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were observed during the morning. Limpkins were also in abundance. The noisy calls of Sandhill Cranes echoed through the air all morning as they arrived in two’s and three’s to feed. I saw numerous Palm and Yellow-rumped Warblers and I counted eight Eastern Phoebe.
As I neared the open water and mud flat area, I heard a distinctly “non-natural” sound. Apparently, this was maintenance day in the reserve. Tractors, lawn mowers and men armed with hedge-clippers were scurrying around the area making it look quite neat along the trail edges. I’m very thankful for their hard work as it helps one to more easily spot snakes and alligators before actually stepping on them. However, there was almost no bird life around. A Great Blue Heron, a confused looking Pied-billed Grebe and an Anhinga were about all I found. Flocks of ducks, ibises and cormorants cruised by but kept flying when they saw all the activity. I asked one of the workers how long they’d be there and he said until lunch time at least. Sigh.
So, no Snail Kite today. A few images here and in the Gallery (“Circle B Bar Reserve – October 2012”) show some of the birds observed today. As I review them, this variety and abundance would be a GOOD DAY for anyone who loves birds and nature!
Yep, autumn is a wonderful time of year. Of course, in central Florida, we only have three days of autumn. That means, winter is almost here and the migratory birds will be everywhere!
Enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit.